It is a common misconception that the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) means that emails cannot be sent to anyone without their explicit consent. There are in fact several lawful grounds for processing personal data within the GDPR, other than consent.
The surveys sent by the Parish Council are covered by the “Public Task” grounds as set out in:
GDPR – Article 6(1)(e)
“processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller”
Section 8 of the Data Protection Act 2018
In Article 6(1) of the GDPR (lawfulness of processing), the reference in point (e) to processing of personal data that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of the controller’s official authority includes processing of personal data that is necessary for—
(a) the administration of justice,
(b) the exercise of a function of either House of Parliament,
(c) the exercise of a function conferred on a person by an enactment or rule of law,
(d) the exercise of a function of the Crown, a Minister of the Crown or a government department, or
(e) an activity that supports or promotes democratic engagement.
Since the surveys issued by the Parish Council are designed to promote democratic engagement, no additional, explicit, consent is required to comply with the GDPR.